This week was to have been at Adam and Hannah's but, due to a last minute slight illness, was quickly rearranged to Sam's. Six of us attended. Apart from Sam, there was Martin, Andy, Ian, and Katy. I arrived several minutes late, causing them to have a conversation while they waited. Apologies for that.
Our first game was a six-player, just to get us started. We went for Pairs. My luck with this game has never been great, so I stuck as soon as was possible, much to Martin's derision. Katy, though, had no such troubles. Staring down Lady Fate at every opportunity, she won the first three rounds for 18 points, and then did just enough in the fourth round to edge past 21 points for the win. Meanwhile, my slow and steady tactics got me second. Martin and Andy saw their luck evaporate with a string of instant busts as they were dealt pairs almost immediately. Ian managed to avoid a score of zero in the last round by sensibly ignoring Martin's advice to keep twisting.
Then we decided to split into two. After some discussion Andy, Sam and Ian went for The Castles of Mad King Ludwig, while Martin, Katy and I went for Impulse. It was Katy's first play, and I wondered how she'd do against two experienced Space captains like me and Martin. Before I wrote this blog post, I went back and read how my first impressions of Impulse were not good and it wasn't until the third game that I felt like I knew what I was doing. Katy seemed frustrated by the experience, and I empathized as she stared at her hand, the map and then at the reference card in blank confusion.
She did well, though, building up a healthy fleet of ships, even if she was short on cards that would move them. Martin kept himself to himself, preferring to fly in circles, triggering point-scoring cards as often as possible. My plan was almost identical to his. As such there were no battles and only sporadic sabotages.
Will Katy ever play it again? Will I score higher than 18 ever again? Tune in for the next episode in the space epic Impulse.
On the other half of the table, castles were being built. Andy's was quite a sexist castle, separating the ladies' rooms (knitting or something) from the gentlemens' rooms for billiards and an audience room (whatever that is).
Ian's rooms were mostly purple and indicated a luxurious, leisure-filled lifestyle. Exactly the type of king who'd be first against the wall come the revolution. Sam's castle was clearly the maddest and therefore a worthy winner.
We'd finished Impulse a while back, so I was introduced to the wonders of Trumps! Trick! Game! This is a simple trick-taking game. The twist being that everyone wins four tricks at the end of each round, therefore if you win tricks early, you'll just be giving away what's left in your hand. All this changes in the last round when you can win as many as you like in a last-gasp stampede for points.
There's more to it, for example the trumps, but it's quick and simple. It's another classic trick taking game for Martin to add to his wall of fame.
While we were playing that, The Castles of Mad Ludwig ended, and they set off on a 3-player 6nimmt. This time, however, Andy persuaded Sam and Ian to try the “professional” rules of 6nimmt, where cards can be added to either end of the row. And so they played a much quieter, thoughtful game of 6nimmt. No doubt dreaming of riches in their future careers as professional 6nimmt players.
While we waited for them to finish off the last few rounds of 6nimmt, Martin, Katy and I played a brief non-leaderboard game of Win, Lose, or Banana. This is a bluffing game, in the style of The Resistance, or Coup or Look Out I’m a Werewolf! But with all the storyline nonsense stripped away. Three cards are dealt out: a win card, a lose card and a banana card. The person with the win card declares who they are and the other two have to convince them that they have the banana card. Simple and fun. And the ironic thing was, Katy actually had a banana at the time!
Finally, we were all together again for a final six-player game: Flowerfall. In this game, cards are dropped onto the table from eye level, with each player hoping to land their flowers overlapping (but not covering) cards with point scoring cards on them. It was very silly. Sam’s only point came from him dropping a card which had one of his flowers and one point scoring flower. Katy, however, couldn’t even manage that and ended with no points at all.
And with that, that night was over.
On the Division, Katy’s lead is slashed from fourteen points to nine and a bit as Sam moves up to second. Ian moves up to sixth and is right on Joe's shoulder. Martin takes the medal table, and absent Joe hangs on to Points Ratio. And I’ve reinstated the Bracknell Bunch since I forgot about them last time.